05/01/2008 11:00PM

Love Co cuts back, not the others


ELMONT, N.Y. - A competitive field squares off in Sunday's $100,000 Bouwerie Stakes for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies. Consider that:

* Dance Gal Dance and Woodbine shipper Northern Netti each put unbeaten records on the line.

* Expect the End is perfect at Belmont, having won the Joseph A. Gimma and Maid of the Mist last fall.

* Meriwether Jessica won or placed in six straight starts to begin her career.

* The Maryland-based Weathered has won 4 of 5 starts, capped by a mild upset of open fillies in an overnight stakes.

* Add in Love Co, who won two routes on the inner track by a combined 18 lengths; Karakorum Katie, who is 2 for 2 on Lasix; and My Dinah, who is 2 for 2 on dirt, and the seven-furlong Bouwerie obviously has come up fairly strong.

Love Co has been freshened by trainer Gary Contessa since setting the pace in the Busher Stakes against subsequent Ashland winner Little Belle, and cuts back in distance after running in route races through the winter.

The others are all stretching out from shorter sprints, which may be a key aspect of a possible early-pace confrontation between Dance Gal Dance, who has posted four wire-to-wire wins, and Northern Netti, who set or forced the pace in two wins on Polytrack at Woodbine, each at five furlongs.

Dance Gal Dance beat maidens on the main track at Aqueduct last fall, and won all three of her six-furlong starts on the inner track during the winter, including scores in two overnight stakes for trainer Tim Ritvo.

"I think the seven furlongs is not going to be a problem, in fact I'm looking forward to stretching her out down the road," said Ritvo. "The owner has been patient in allowing me to bring her along, and I think she will carry her speed."

Three arrive from Japan for Peter Pan

Casino Drive, Champagne Squall, and Spark Candle, a trio of 3-year-old invaders owned by Japanese business executive Hidetoshi Yamamoto, arrived at Belmont after clearing quarantine at Aqueduct on Thursday, and cantered over Belmont's main track Friday morning.

All three of the Kazuo Fujisawa-trained colts are nominated to Saturday's Peter Pan Stakes, the key local prep for the Belmont Stakes. The one with the most potential is Casino Drive, a half-brother to the last two Belmont winners, Jazil and Rags to Riches, who was purchased as a yearling for $950,000 and was a handy winner of his only start at 1-5.

They are scheduled to work on Wednesday.